- Most farmers find it difficult to leave out tobacco growing
- From jackfruits, Dradebo says he raises about Shs 400,000 yearly, mangoes about 250,000, Ovacados Shs 100,000, pawpaw Shs 100,000 and pine apples 150,000.
- Also lack of equipment for picking, drying and storage of chili, financial constraints and negative attitude by public that chili is dangerous that it can affect the eyes.
- Some exporting countries for chili include Chile, USA, Canada, UK, Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Malaysia, Germany and many countries across the world.
By Atiku Robert
Maracha-It has been a tug of war to convince a tobacco farmer to quit its growing because it is regarded as a traditional crop here.
Gard Dradebo, a farmer in Midioa village, Tara Sub-county in Maracha district is among such farmers who took time to be convinced to quit tobacco but at last he heeded to the call and took up on chili growing. Right now, Dradebo, says he is able to make a decent living out of an orchard.
“When I returned from Lira in 2002 after working with Sogea Construction Company, I found that growing tobacco was time consuming and needs huge land. And I realized growing of fruits in an orchard that need small piece of land would be of great profit other than tobacco,” he said.
“Then I started growing mangoes local and improved variety, avocados, white guava, and jack fruit. Then in 2007, ACCORD brought in the idea of growing chili and supplied improved variety seeds to farmers. I took up the idea and started growing chili in 2009,” he added.
He started with 3000 seedlings in first season and obtained Shs 500,000 from first harvest. The advantage is that chili takes short five months and is assured of making money at a short time.
This, he said was a motivation because he could plant in two seasons every year. He is able to earn money because a kilogram of chili is purchased at Shs 4000 to 10,000 depending on the quality.
Top: Gard with his mangoes and he weeds his chili garden. Photos by Atiku Robert.
“In second season, I planted 4200 seedlings in one acre of land and obtained about Shs 800,000. And the money helps me to pay school fees for my children, provide home necessities and bought a bicycle to help in transporting some of the products,” he said.
But success does not come without a challenge. For instance, he says price fluctuations affects a lot and the price protection which is lacking where prices are determined by the buyer. This, he said demoralizes one but with determination, he is able to move on.
One of the residents living around, Joseph Abiria, said there was need for farmers to be supported with marketing skills. “When someone starts on a project like this, he/she will need to be updated with market information frequently. But I do not see this happening with many farmers,” he said.
He also does inter-cropping of cabbages and egg plants where he earns about Shs 180,000. He says he now plans to build a permanent house, acquire good transport system (vehicles and go into poultry keeping, mushroom growing and Bee keeping.